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Stories

HAVANA’S HISTORY LESSON

A GRAND VISION, A BRIGHT FUTURE
CITY
HAVANA, CUBA
DESCRIPTION

Five hundred years in the making, the history of Havana is a tale of colonisation, corruption, revolution, counterrevolution and gradual 21st-century reinvention. Despite the ostensibly grubby facades, the city’s history is remarkably well preserved. Plotting its path will ultimately enrich your trip. Take a tour guide to understand the political milestones, ride in a vintage car and enjoy the pastel buildings.

Colour is the order of the day, from the buildings to the cars to the architecture of the city. A step back in time, pre-debit card transactions, a cash-rich economy and a digital climb to 2018 in Havana. Hotspots around the city lead you to dwell in charming gardens, breathing the warm air and heady scents of blooms and grills. Havana was founded in 1519 by the Spanish. By the 17th century, it had become one of the Caribbean’s main centres for ship-building. Although it is today a sprawling metropolis of 2 million inhabitants, its old centre retains an interesting mix of Baroque and neoclassical monuments, and a homogeneous ensemble of private houses with arcades, balconies, wrought-iron gates and internal courtyards. Well worth a visit and to slow down from the pace of the 21st century and spend time in the many coffee shops and book stores Hemingway spent his time.

Revolution square a central hub for the city and many of the political moments in history being cited as happening here. Fidel Castro has given famous political speeches and proclaimed legislative acts. Built in 1959, and gained popularity as a central hub for public celebration and demonstration. Surrounded by modern construction, against a grey sky at first appears cold and uninviting. Then when you walk each monument and building the story of the city and country starts to unfold.

Featuring an enormous obelisk monument to Jose Marti, seated and thoughtful, built on the highest ground in Havana, towering over the city. Two of the government buildings in the square from 1958, are best known for the iron sculptures of Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos that cover their facades, both by Cuban artist Enrique Avila. This plaza is another one of those magical locations in Havana that throw you back in time but simultaneously offer you a great vision and hope for the future.